How Many Members Should Be In a Mastermind Group?

I’ve been running mastermind groups since 1995,¬†and I’ve seen groups of all sizes. There are some questions you need to ask yourself before deciding how many members should be in your mastermind group:

  1. How much total time is available at each meeting? Meetings need to have a begin and end time, and many meetings that run over 90 minutes can run out of steam without frequent breaks. Yet breaks also cause interruption of the energy levels. So first decide how long each meeting will be, then go on to Question 2.
  2. How much time should each member get to be in the “hot seat” to talk about their problem, challenge or decision? Members need time to first verbalize their situation before masterminding can begin in earnest. Some members are quick and can sum it up in five minutes or less. Others need 10-15 minutes just to set the stage. THEN you need time to mastermind after that. We did an experiment in one of my mastermind group meetings recently: we had a non-timed meeting, just to see what would naturally occur. Thirty minutes per member was our average time for each hot seat.
  3. What other items are on your agenda? Remember that your meeting typically includes some sort of opening and closing, as well as possible guest speakers, training or other events. Allow time for those in your agenda, then plan accordingly.

In my mastermind groups, I tend to look for 4-6 members per group. Less than four and the energy level can drop (though I know several very successful mastermind groups with three members in them!), and more than six members will probably cause you to run out of time. However, if you’re doing half-day or full-day meetings, you may be able to include more members.

How Will You Know That You’re Successful, When You Don’t Know What It Looks Like?

Too often we set goals and run around implementing them, never taking a moment to stop and notice whether we have achieved personal or business success yet.

I believe the part of the reason for this hyper-activity is that we haven’t created a true definition of what success looks and feels like to us personally.

It’s time to consciously create your own personal definition of success.

Do this exercise privately, or do it as a group exercise with your family, friends or mastermind group. Be specific in detailing what success looks like and feels like:

  1. What physical things will exist when I’m successful? (Will you send your kids to college? Own your dream house? Have vibrant good health? Earn a specific income?)
  2. Which feelings will exist when I’m successful? (Will you be feeling competent, powerful, loving, honored, grateful, challenged, connected, free, happy?)
  3. Which feelings will there be less of, or eliminated all together? (Will you be feeling less anxiety, isolation, confusion, lack of purpose?)
  4. What will I be experiencing? (Will you be in a meaningful, loving relationship? Finding happiness on a daily basis? Traveling the world? Immersed in a favorite hobby? Spending quality time with family and friends? Creating services your customers love?)

By defining some specifics of what “success” means to you, you’ll know when it’s happening! Too often I talk to people who want a successful life or a successful business, only to find they already have one.

Has success crept up on you without you noticing? The only way to know is to have some yardstick to measure it by.

What to Do When Your Mastermind Group Flounders

People often start and join a mastermind group with high energy and high expectations. Several months into it, you can find your group flagging and floundering. People show up late or don’t come at all. People don’t participate. Energy levels are low and new ideas don’t really meet the needs of the members.

Why does this happen? Four reasons:

  1. You’re not meeting often enough. Too much time between meetings causes people to disconnect, both from the group and from their own goals. Consider meeting more often, or if that’s not possible, create an online message forum where people can connect with each other between meetings. Also consider short, check-in teleconferences between meetings, where people can talk about their work towards goals, challenges they’re having with those tasks, and any help they may need along the way.
  2. There’s not enough interaction. Mastermind group meetings are more than just the individual Hot Seats. Creating space in each meeting for group discussion and group exercises, as well as casual networking time, allows for fuller interaction among members. Consider inviting people to come a bit early for coffee or a meal together.
  3. Members are playing it safe. Mastermind groups are formed to help people create success in their personal and professional lives. Members state their goals and what actions/tasks they’ll take between meetings to accomplish those goals. Some members may state goals that are too easy, and other members may limit their participation in the Hot Seat discussions to topics that are below-par. Encourage your members to challenge themselves AND each other. Growth is the keyword.
  4. People begin to self-sabotage when asked to make major changes. You’ve seen this a million times. A mastermind group member sets an important goal for himself, and just as he’s beginning to near the finish line, the whole project falls apart. It’s common for people who have set big goals for themselves to self-sabotage their own success for many reasons. As the mastermind group facilitator, your job is to remind people of the goals they set and WHY they set them. It’s also your job to encourage all the members to support each other as they set off to achieve their life’s dream.

Keeping your mastermind group strong and vibrant makes for a healthy group that members value. Maintain close watch on members’ energy and participation levels, and take care of a floundering group before it folds.

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